Lawyers Call for UAE Extradition Treaty to be Scrapped over Human Rights Concerns
A group of lawyers led by a human rights NGO have called on the UK government to suspend the UAE extradition treaty after numerous UK court rulings have rejected UAE extradition requests on grounds of its poor human rights record.
Following the UK's High Court precedent of Lodhi in 2010, no individual has been extradited to the UAE, based particularly on the UAE's inability to disprove allegations of discrimination, lack of fair trials and the fact that human rights may be violated in the event the requests were approved.
Radha Stirling, CEO of NGO Detained in Dubai, who regularly provides expert legal testimonies on UAE extradition cases in the UK and abroad, has called on the British government to scrap the extradition treaty.
Stirling has argued that “the UK should not be allowing its own legal system to be manipulated as it is commonly in the UAE, simply to maintain an alliance with the Gulf nation. The suspension of the extradition treaty would be a significant step towards encouraging the UAE to reform its legal and penal system and would ultimately be beneficial in promoting human rights”
Stirling has just given evidence at the Edinburgh Sheriff court in support of a Scottish bus driver currently fighting an extradition charge to Dubai.
She said of the case that “after a week of intense proceedings, we are still awaiting the final judgement in Black’s case but expect the Sheriff to rule along the lines of other UK verdicts; That is, that Black will not face extradition to the UAE because he would face human rights abuses and unfair trials”
Detained in Dubai also maintain that frequent UAE extradition requests in the UK come at a huge cost to UK taxpayers, which is estimated to be in the millions of pounds per year covering court costs, prosecuting counsel and defence costs that are usually funded through legal aid. Although Detained in Dubai put in a freedom of information request to ascertain the exact cost of this to taxpayers, the government refused to provide the information.
Former M.D of Leeds United Football Club and UAE torture survivor David Haigh supports the scrapping of the extradition treaty stating that “until the UAE government can demonstrate that it has made changes that would be grounds for the UK to accept an extradition request, the treaty should be suspended to end the squandering of taxpayer dollars”
In times of austerity it is deeply concerning that the British government continues to waste taxpayers money on extradition cases from the UAE that have little to no chance of success. We are regularly told that there is simply no money available for much needed investments in our schools and hospitals, yet the current administration seems intent on spending millions in order to merely save face with a regime that routinely violates international human rights law. In the interests of citizens of the UK and those living in the UAE, it is imperative that the government cancels the UAE extradition treaty.